Last Friday I picked up the local paper and read that areas near my home were to expect winds up to 85 miles per hour by Sunday. With a drought that seems to never end and impossibly dry hot weather, I knew this could be disastrous.
Early Sunday morning came the first one: Malibu. My cousin's daughter is at Pepperdine and the news showed the fire surrounding the campus.
Sunday evening, I talked with my friend Kristen and as we looked on the horizon, a huge black cloud came creeping towards us. We wondered where it came from. When I got home, Kristen called.
"Remember that black cloud we saw? Well, it's right behind my house. We're evacuating."
Four years ago we had terrible fires here in Southern California, with smoky air choking us and ash dusting our cars. It's going on again, although reports are that this year is even worse.
San Diego has been hit the hardest, and everyone I know in San Diego is out of their home. I don't know where they all are, I just hope they're safe. My friends who live in the rural canyons of Orange County, once home to mines and outlaws, are safely out of the area and staying with family and friends.
A woman evacuee, speaking from a makeshift living space in San Diego's QualCom stadium, spoke to the news. Her attitude was so upbeat, so focused on the positive she gave me chills. "I'm grateful that I have this place to go, and I know everything is going to work out."
Here she was, out of her home, staying in a football stadium, and she was focused on gratitude. She inspired me to count my blessings:
1. I'm in my home, not evacuated.
2. I have windows in my home that shut, keeping the smoky air out (sort of) from my house
3. I have a couple of little portable fans in my house that are circulating the soot in the air
4. Our humidifier works, and my child can sleep through the night without coughing
5. I have a car that runs in case I need to pack up and go
6. I backed up my computer and can easily grab my data should we ever need to get out.
7. If I can't get my computer stuff and my house burns, I trust that the Universe will take care of me. Between my webmaster, my bookkeeper, and my assistant, I'm sure we've got copies of the really important stuff.
8. My family is safe
9. Our water is drinkable
10. The winds have died down.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected on a larger level than us. I think of the people who the media doesn't always cover: the many Indian Reservations of San Diego County, asthma sufferers, and the infirm.
Here is a link to a listing of places where you can be a part of the gratitude and recover: